Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

from the personality of the Son. For the further unfolding of the three personalities in the Godhead, I must wait till I come to the 21st verse of the üid chapter, which will draw on with it a full explanation of the mystery contained in the xv th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, concerning the eternal subjection of the Son; and, in the mean time, I refer my readers to the last of my sermons on the subject of the Incarnation.

Subjects these little heeded and little cared for, and much contemned by this self and not God-worshipping generation; and no where more contemned than amongst the ministers of my own church, for whom I chiefly write. I hide it not, that, though I write primarily for the glory of God in the exposition of his truth, and secondarily for the good of all his intelligent creatures, I have an especial love to my brethren, the ministers of the Church of Scotland, who, by the intellectualism and base philosophy of our great Northern University, have been much seduced from the faith of the fulness of God's word, into the faith of only those forms of it which can be commended to the natural man, and obtain the approbation of men of sense and talent, with whom our country abounds. I am striking another chord altogether ; it jars in the ear of the rest of my brethren; but it is the chord which alone will recal the deep symphonies of the soul with God. And while I write, I feel the strong assurance that God will give these truths power and efficacy in the heart, and in the ministry, of many of my brethren in the Church of Scotland, who now look upon me as revolting men of sense from the whole subject of religion. Listen to me, my brethren, and I will tell you a truth : These men of sense professors, reviewers, scientific men, and so forth, must be repelled from that which they now call religion, before they can be attracted to that which you know to be religion. The clear sky over the head of Scotland's intellect must be beclouded and bedimmed with vapours before the soil of Scotland's intel. lect will yield you any fruit of that kind, which heretofore it brought forth in all abundance. Teach, oh ye men of God! to these sciolists, what true knowledge and true wisdom are; take these boasters into deeper waters, if ye would teach them how to swim, and when they find

themselves beyond their depth, they may haply betake themselves to the ark of salvation. I am not boasting of myself over others, but I am boasting in the truth. I say Christ is the truth, and all out of him is a lie. I

say the man that is in Christ, is in the truth; and all out of him are in a lie. I say Christ is right reason, and true intellect; and that all who know him not are but bastards, and mockers, and no children of reason, or even of intellect. Oh, tell, tell them so, ye watchmen in the cities, on the walls, and around the bulwarks of our Zion !

This vision of the glory of the Son of Man, overwhelmed the seer with astonishment, and absorbed all his faculties of thought and action, and he fell at his feet as dead. Methinks had he not been in the Spirit, and by the Spirit sustained, such a vision starting into life at one's right hand, and with a trumpet voice uttering such mighty words, in the solitude of a sequestered place of banishment, might have extinguished life altogether. There is an awe of a spiritual appearance which is indescribable. Job's friend, who saw such an apparition, says that the hair of his flesh stood up. Daniel, who feared not the wrath of a king, nor the lion's den, when he saw such a vision, was left without strength remaining in him. So also Ezekiel, and indeed all the persons in the Old Testament who were favoured with such apparitions from the invisible world. Whence this dread should arise is not an inquiry for the divine so much as the philosopher. To say that it ariseth from its being supernatural, is not altogether to explain the difficulty; for we do not find that the supernatural actings of our Lord and his Apostles wrought any such terror upon the bye-standers and his Apostles. But these supernatural works were expected and besought, and brought to pass by the instrumentality of one like ourselves, whereas these without any preparation, and without any instrumental cause, came in an instant into being. I think, for my own part, there is impressed upon our mind, by the hand of God, the awe and dread of a spiritual world, as the basis of the reverence of God as a Spirit. God, who is the Father of spirits, in order as it were to confirm our reverence of himself, hath grounded us in the common reverence of a spiritual world. It may perhaps likewise be by him per

mitted to pass into slavish dread for a remembrance of that captivity in which we have been, since the Fall, to the prince of fallen spirits; and a warning to the wicked of the fearful mastery which he shall have over them in the world to come. However it may be, no one will doubt that this instinctive dread of the spiritual world doth betoken in man a deep and mysterious and awful connection therewith, and forms the basis of a religion, either of terror or of consolation, according to the tidings which are brought to us, concerning the spirits and the Father of the spirits who inhabit there. Now, as in all cases of intercourse between demons and men, the effect hath been grief, and torture, and death, to the poor mortal whom they got possession of; so, on the other hand, in all cases of intercourse between God and man, through angelic or Divine appearances, the contrary effect hash ever been experienced of kindness, comfort, good news, and gracious gifts. By wbich difference in the actings towards man, of the fallen and the unfallen, of the apostate and the elect spirits, is given to us a foretaste of that society, bitter or sweet, miserable or blessed, which we shall enjoy in the spiritual world, of which we are the denizens, between death and the resurrection. Those wanderings and distractions of mind, those rendings of natural affections, and tortures of conscience, and other forms of anguish, which the spirits of possessed men and children, mentioned in the Gospel, were liable to, and which, perhaps, have their continuance amongst ourselves in the various forms of madness, are a witness which God hath left amongst men, to warn them to flee from the bondage and oppression of Satan, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. While those friendly admonitions, timeous interpositions, gracious revelations, and blessed deliverances which God hath in all times by. spiritual intervention sent unto his saints, are a most exhilarating encouragement for us to put away the slavish dread of spiritual agents, and look upon Father, and all holy angels, as ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them which shall be heirs of salvation. Of these angel visits, none so glorious and so consoling occurs in all the Scriptures, as this, which is now before us, exhibiting our brother, in the style, dignity, and

God as

our a

vestments of the Lord of glory, who, when the solitary exile to whom he condescended to appear, fell at his feet as dead, did most graciously lay his right hand upon him, saying unto him these wonderful words:

“ Fear not, I am the first and the last, I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore; Amen ; and have the keys of hell and of death.” These · words which were spoken for his consolation, and to banish his fears, contain great depths of Divine doctrine, as well as strong food of spiritual consolation ; before entering upon which I would first make a remark upon the word “ fear not," with which Christ first openeth his lips. The sword sharp and two-edged, proceeding from his mouth, might well excite fear in the breast of a sinful mortal. As Daniel's comeliness was turned into corruption when he saw the vision of this same glorious person; so do I well believe the grace and the loveliness of John the Evangelist, would be turned into an overwhelming sense of vileness and wretchedness when he saw the vision of the Son of Man. Oh, it is a fearful thing for flesh and blood to look upon God. If Paul said of himself, “ Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” even when he was but looking on himself with the eye of his own conscience, how much more must our seer have felt; when searched with those Eyes like lamps of fire, and standing in that presence which was like the sun shining in his strength! Most seasonable, therefore, was the word, Fear not. Great comfort, I doubt not, was conveyed by it, to the astonished and overwhelmed man. And O what tenderness it bespeaks in Jesus Christ, thus to open the Apocalypse of his glorious coming with these words, “ fear not,” the man speaks as it were above the God, or to express it truly, the God speaketh in and through the man. It is Jesus, the unchangeable, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; the same Jesus upon whose bosom John leaned; the heavens have not changed him, for even upon earth he was holy as the heavens. And well did these words, “fear not,” become the lips of him who came to deliver men, who, through the fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage. He who had made peace by the blood of his cross, and taken

[ocr errors]

away the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, between both and God; he who had preached that love which casteth out fear, might well begin his revela tions from glory with the words “fear not." And methinks, moreover, they were suitable words for ushering in that series of revelation which were to contain the fearful judgments, and consummated wrath of God, the strokes of chastisement, the earıhquakes of destruction, the throes of death to the present frame-work of this evil world; which, while we pursue in our meditations, and are not afraid to tell out the terrors thereof, let these words be ever in our ears, in the ears of all who read and who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep tlie things that are written thereina. To all such,, the voice which spake them saith, Fear not. Fear not for thyself, 0

my servant; fear not for the church., And shall we not respond, in the words of the Psalmist; “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble; therefore will not we fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains, be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Such, o God, let my spirit be, and such be the spirit of those who hear, while together we meditate, with awe these dreadful visions of coming judgment.

“I am the first and the last."-In reflecting upon these words, since our last lecture, I have been led into some, what deeper views of this expression, and of those which then passed under our consideration. The expressions “ the first and the last,” “ the beginning and the ending,” we explained as signifying that the Son of God was by the Father, or more correctly to speak, was by the God: head, contemplated as the Christ, before time had a be. ginning, before the world was, and that the end for which things were created, and the laws under which they were created, do arise out of that contemplation and purpose of the Godhead, to bring into outward being the Christ, fulness of God, and blessedness of creation, which he purposed in himself before the world was. And so Christ is before all things, and the end of all things: before all things, inası much as, to bring him forth in his perfection was the pur: pose of God from eternity, the end of all things,- inas

« AnteriorContinuar »